The noun dread describes the fear of something bad happening, like the dread you feel when walking alone on a deserted street in the dark.

Dread is a feeling of fear, but it can also be the desire to avoid something. For example, many people feel dread at the very thought of speaking in front of an audience. As a verb, dread means "to fear or not want something to happen," like students who did not study and as a result, dread getting their graded tests back. As an adjective, dread means "frightening or terrifying," like a dread monster.

Definitions of dread
  1. noun
    fearful expectation or anticipation
    synonyms: apprehension, apprehensiveness
    see moresee less
    show 7 types...
    hide 7 types...
    a feeling of alarm or dread
    boding, foreboding, premonition, presentiment
    a feeling of evil to come
    apprehension about what is going to happen
    gloom, gloominess, somberness, sombreness
    a feeling of melancholy apprehension
    chill, pall
    a sudden numbing dread
    a premonition of something adverse
    a foreboding about what is about to happen
    type of:
    fear, fearfulness, fright
    an emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger (usually accompanied by a desire to flee or fight)
  2. adjective
    causing fear or dread or terror
    “the dread presence of the headmaster”
    synonyms: awful, dire, direful, dreaded, dreadful, fearful, fearsome, frightening, horrendous, horrific, terrible
    frightening because of an awareness of danger
  3. verb
    be afraid or scared of; be frightened of
    synonyms: fear
    see moresee less
    be overcome by a sudden fear
    freak, freak out, gross out
    lose one's nerve
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week